Maninderjit Singh (Mike)
Former Hockey International (1990-2002)
As we all are aware the Malaysian Men’s Hockey Team played at the recent Hockey World Cup 2014 at the Hague and created a record of sort. The National Team lost all their matches including the classification tie and completed the event at the bottom of the heap which was the worst ever position in our world cup history since 1973.
The national team now need to play in the coming Commonwealth Games in July and also the Asian Games in September 2014. It is less than a month to the Commonwealth Games and 95 days to the Asian Games. It is also a year towards the FIH World League event which acts as qualifier for Rio 2016.
The team has set the target of winning the Gold Medal at the Asian Games in order to qualify for 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Based on my personal view, the following were the prevailing issues faced by the team for their preparation towards the 2014 Hockey World Cup:
- The Head Coach announced his resignation twice before a major event
- The blending of the senior and junior players were not properly executed. The junior team finished fourth (4th) at the 2013 Junior World Cup while most senior players played at at FIH WL Semis to qualify.
- Salary issues raised by Coaches prior to World Cup did not augur well.
- A foreign Malaysian born player inclusion without time-tested.
- Low Quality of Matches for preparation.
- Managing Players’ Discipline on and off the field was not at their best during training camps and tournaments. Lack of conviction to uphold disciplinary matters in the team.
- Selection of National Team was not done based on fitness level, international experience (caps), versatility (could play more than one position), special skills (PC flicker, defense including first runner, stopper, pusher and deflector) and finally the players’ current performance at international arena.
- The number of Coaches involved for the Team do not deserve justification.
This must be done in tandem with properly planned strategy with the intention of revitalizing the National hockey team and installing the structure that can create world class players and officials.
Therefore, all relevant stakeholders need to look at the following points in order for the National hockey team to firstly survive and then for Malaysia to become a World Class hockey nation:
- Foreign League Attachment
- High Performance Unit
- National Teams’ Program
- Training Methodology
- Technical and Tactical
- Supervision & Monitoring
- Adoption of Innovation
- Technology Implication
- Sport Science application
- Structure of National Teams and National Players Salary Structure
A good National Senior Team must have internal and external pressure of players competing among themselves to make the grades. When the team has quality of 40 players, the Coaches can make proper decision and this will create “hunger” for the players to perform in training and matches.
As for remuneration, every end of the month, both these teams will play a series of best of three and after the series the Coaches will rename the players for Team A & B. In doing so, each player is able to ensure that he:
- Earns as many caps by being in first team
- Sustains an achievable level of fitness based on scorecard
- Gets rewards for winning and is penalized for not performing
- Quality of Matches for Test and Friendly Matches
And as for annual Sultan Azlan Cup and Sultan Johor Cup, the teams that are invited must be of great credential and I suggest all teams invited must be ranked 10th and better but the participating teams must send at least 80% of first team players and not development squads.
- Competitiveness of Malaysian Hockey League and Junior Hockey League
- New Purpose
- New Ideas
- New Structure
- New Mindset
- New Image and Branding
- Updated Rules and Regulations
When organizing the calendar, the importance of setting of the dates for such events will allow high class foreign players to ply their trade in MHL and JHL. The best period for MHL is always from November to January and JHL from February to April. And 4 years of calendars (2014 till 2018) must be established to comprehend the quality of the tournaments.
This high level competition will provide the National Coaches the chance to gauge and undertake talent scouting for National teams. Therefore, all National Coaches must not be allowed to coach club teams and they must be doing selection and parting knowledge to club hockey coaches and ratifying national players’ mistakes from time to time. This is to avoid any conflict of interest at both levels and its effect on National Team program and quality of selection made by Coaches.
- Benefit and Burden of Rule Not Equitable
- National Coaches
- More than 10 years of Coaching experience
- Must handled one of the National Team (minimum period of 4 years)
- Quality Success Profile with a list of achievement with the various national teams and at least has coached a Olympic or World Cup team and attain results.
- List of know-how and experience on Technologies related to sport of hockey.
- Latest training methodology taking into account of changing phases of modern hockey.
- Manner of experience and interaction with supporting team such as sports science, fitness, physiology, strength, dietician and psychologist.
My intention is to ensure that the standard of hockey is returned to its former glory, so that some day it may even surpass it. It is a matter of national pride that Malaysia re-attains her position as one of the top teams in the world.
This appeal is done for the love of the sport and country and in the hope that the nation’s flag is always hoisted high to fly proudly at international arenas.
And I will end with this phrase – “The price of excellence is discipline and the cost of mediocrity is disappointment”.